St. Jerome’s University Archives
Michael W. Higgins papers, 1961-2021
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Michael W. Higgins papers, 1961-2021


BIOGRAPHY Michael W. Higgins was born on October 24, 1948 in Toronto, Ontario. Following primary school education at St. Thomas Aquinas School, he attended Vaughan Road Collegiate Institute. He obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from St. Francis Xavier University (1970 magna cum laude), a Master of Arts degree in English from York University (1971), a Bachelor of Education with a Theatre Arts specialization from the University of Toronto (1974), and a Ph.D. in English from York University (1979). In 2008 he was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Human Letters from Sacred Heart University in Fairfield, Connecticut. Dr. Higgins taught English and Religious Studies at St. Michael's College School at the University of Toronto from 1974 to 1982 before moving to St. Jerome's University to take up the Directorship of the newly-formed St. Jerome's Centre for Catholic Experience (1982-1990). In addition, while at St. Jerome's, Dr. Higgins taught English and Religious Studies (1983-2006), was the Associate Director of the Institute for Studies in Theological Renewal (1983-1986) and then its Director (1987-1996), the Editor of"Grail: An Ecumenical Journal"(1985-1998), Chair of the Department of Religious Studies (1987-1989), Associate Dean (1989-1995), and Vice-President and Academic Dean (1995-1999). In 1999 Dr. Higgins was appointed President and Vice-Chancellor of St. Jerome's University. He served as President until 2006. He became President and Vice-Chancellor of St. Thomas University in Fredericton, New Brunswick after leaving St. Jerome's. While at St. Thomas he also taught English and Religious Studies. He left there on December 31, 2009. In 2010 Dr. Higgins was the Senior Executive in Residence at Sacred Heart University in Fairfield, Connecticut. Later in the year he was named Vice-President for Mission and Catholic Identity at Sacred Heart. In the summer of 2020 Michael Higgins was named Interim President and Vice-Chancellor of St. Mark's College and Corpus Christi College at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada. In addition to his academic career, Michael W. Higgins is the author or editor of over a dozen books and has been a regular columnist for the Toronto Star, the Kitchener-Waterloo Record, the Catholic Register and the Canadian Correspondent for The Tablet (London). He has published over 60 articles, essays, film reviews, and book reviews (both general and academic). He is credited with over 75 published interviews, documentaries, dramas, and radio and television commentaries (including appearances on CTV's Canada AM, CBC Television's "Newsworld", CBC Radio's Ideas, and a CBS Washington Special). He also provided the ethical and humanistic perspective on Discovery Channel's @discovery.ca along with other panelists. Among his many awards are the Ontario Arts Council Award (1998 and 2001), Faith Today's "God Uses Ink" Award for Non-Fiction (1999), the Queen's Jubilee Medal for Leadership, an Honorary Doctorate of Human Letters from Sacred Heart University in Fairfield, Connecticut (2008), and was promoted to the rank of Knight Commander of the Equestrian Order of The Holy Sepulchre (2008). Professional memberships include the Canadian Society for the Study of Religion, Christianity and Literature (ACUTE), the International Thomas Merton Society, the Society for Religion and Literature, the Writer's Union of Canada, the International Federation of Catholic Universities, and the Thomas Merton Society of Canada. SCOPE AND CONTENTS This sub-group is comprised of the personal papers of Michael W. Higgins, who during his career, was a professor of English and Religious Studies, the Director of the St. Jerome's Centre for Catholic Experience, the Associate Director and Director of the St. Jerome's Institute for Studies in Theological Renewal, Chairperson of the Department of Religious Studies at St. Jerome's University, Associate Dean of St. Jerome's, Chair of the Department of Religious Studies at the University of Waterloo, Vice-President and Academic Dean of St. Jerome's University, President and Vice-Chancellor of St. Jerome's and President and Vice-Chancellor of St. Thomas University in New Brunswick. These personal papers reflect Dr. Higgins'many and varied academic, scholarly, and professional activities. This sub-group is arranged in 11 series: 1) Curriculum Vitae; 2) Personal and Professional Correspondence and Awards; 3) Publications: Books; 4) Publications: Newspaper Columns and Articles; 5) Publications: Journal and Magazine Articles; 6) Publications and Other Media: Thomas Merton; 7) Miscellaneous Publications and Other Media; 8) The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC); 9) The International Thomas Merton Society, 6th General Meeting; 10) St. Thomas University; 11) Sacred Heart University. Descriptions for these series are available.